Have the wheels fallen off the Peterborough promotion bus?
Flashback to 31st of October and the Posh were sat in second place only two points behind leaders Portsmouth. However, Peterborough fans would be in for a scare as fast forward to this weekend and Peterborough have fallen down to 7th and sit outside the play-off places on goal difference. But what has gone wrong at the ABAX Stadium?
Start of the season
Peterborough United started the season like a house on fire with the Posh picking up 5 wins in their first 5 games with impressive results against fellow promotion contenders Charlton Athletic (1-0) and a (5-1) thrashing of Derek Adams’ Plymouth Argyle. It appeared to both fans and pundits that Steve Evans had brought back the good times to ABAX Stadium. The bookmakers also believed that the Glaswegian could achieve his 7th promotion as a manager with Posh third favourites to win the league by mid-September.
It was a busy summer window for the Posh with Evans the conductor of a mass exodus at the ABAX with 18 players leaving the squad. Peterborough lost key players during the summer window including talisman, Jack Marriott. However, it appeared at first that Evans had dealt well with the loss of Marriott to Derby County. Evans brought in 17 players that summer including former Stevenage striking sensation, Matt Godden, League One regular Ivan Toney, Promising Youngster Siriki Dembele and Nottingham Forest loanee Jason Cummings. In the first few months, it appeared that the new wave of players brought in by Evans would be good enough to carry Peterborough to the Championship. For example, Jason Cummings started the 2018/19 season on fire with the Edinborough born forward scoring six goals in his first five league games. Cummings subsequently won August player of the Month for League One. However, Cummings couldn’t maintain his form and within a space of months was recalled by Forest and is currently spending the rest of the season out on loan at title-chasing Luton.
The sacking of Steve Evans
At first, it appeared that Evans had successfully handled the large squad turnover and was guiding the Posh to the Championship for the first time since 2013. However, after a few months into the season, it became apparent that the brand of football offered up by the Scot was not going to be good enough to achieve promotion to the second tier of English football. Peterborough United sacked Evans on the 26th of January after a poor run of results with the Posh only picking up one win in the whole of January. Fans had become tired of his brand of football and were happy to see the back of the former Leeds United manager. Evans had failed to manage a large squad and with unattractive football had forced the club into making a move. However, some fans claimed that the move to sack Evans was unjustified by the board as at the time of the sacking the Posh were sat in sixth.
The new man to guide Posh to promotion
After Evans was sacked Darren Ferguson took charge of the Posh for the third time in his career. Ferguson, who has achieved three promotions with Peterborough, was delighted to be back at London Road. The appointment was meant to reinvigorate the squad for the last 17 games and help the club achieve promotion. However, it appears the opposite effect has happened with the club currently sat in 7th place after a (3-1) defeat to Bradford. Ferguson has only won two games in his first 7 games in charge and under his reign has seen the club fall outside the playoff places for the first time this season.
Can Peterborough achieve promotion?
Yes! Although Peterborough have fallen out of the playoff places for the first time this season, the Cambridgeshire based side only sit outside the play-off places on goal difference. Arguably it takes time for a new manager to adjust to the squad as Ferguson had no input in constructing the squad and has inherited the squad from Evans. Peterborough still have great players to call on in the next ten games to help the club to achieve promotion with both Ivan Toney and Godden edging close to a 20 goal total for the season and Ferguson also has the talents of Marcus Maddison to rely on with the midfielder already contributing to 20 goals this season.
Do you think that the Posh can achieve promotion?